Platitudes on Aging
I hate platitudes. You know those annoying statements people say to make you feel better about a situation.
I come from a line of women who live long lives, into their eighties and nineties. Based on that kind of lineage, I anticipate a long life too. I’d prefer to be one of those women who age gracefully (whatever the heck that means).
My mother, a proud woman, wore her crown of white hair and the wrinkles on her face with pride. Coloring her hair would have been an insult. “I earned every one of these gray hairs raising six kids, ” she said, more times than I can count.
Never at a loss for words, Mother had quite a few trite statements and tiresome clichés in her repertoire of advice. None of which prepared me for the grim reality of aging. I would’ve preferred the truth.
In honor of all aging women, I want to share a few of my mother’s favorite platitudes, sprinkled with a bit of honesty. So, grab a bottle of wine or two and brace yourself, ladies. You’re in for a bumpy ride.
Those aren’t wrinkles; they’re lines of wisdom
No, they’re wrinkles. Your face is just the beginning. Those suckers spread faster than lines on a Google map and it ain’t pretty. You’ll wake one morning to find perky boobs that once pushed lace-trimmed bras out in nose snuggling cleavage deflated like a helium-filled balloon gone bad.
Sexy bras get shoved to the back of the drawer and replaced with thick strapped, hard-wired versions. Once upon a time, I could slip into a sexy little lace number as quickly as it came off. Now, it’s like gymnastics — shaking, pulling, and tucking those girls into their rightful place and praying to God, they’ll stay.
Those aren’t hot flashes; they’re power surges
Yeah right; slap CEO on my nametag and call-it-a-day. Panting, turning red in the face, and wiggling out of one’s clothes at an alarming rate, is not offering sexual favors or a lap dance. It’s a damn hot flash, and on those occasions, rest assured, I can kick ass and take names.
Your best days are in front of you. (What a crock)
My best days were when I had the energy to work ten-hour days, enjoy happy hour with friends, make dinner, help the kids with homework, and have wild sex on the dining room table (or other impulsive places). Wild sex these days is watching the movie version and reminiscing. My body doesn’t bend that way anymore and this ain’t Hollywood. Those grunting and moaning sounds ricocheting off the walls have more to do with the pain in my hips and knees than pleasure.
Age is just a number
No, it’s a flagrant reminder you’ve been usurped. Younger, thinner, more beautiful women are the ones turning their heads. The only heads I seem to turn these days are old men at Target. And trust me nothing brings the truth home more than an old man at Target, making a move on you.
The trick to aging gracefully is to enjoy it
Seriously? I don’t think so. Aging is taking me kicking and screaming. I’m a proud woman (got that from mom) and vain. I never leave the house without makeup, earrings, or perfume. Penciling in the lines takes longer, but I refuse to be one of those women with lipstick halfway to her nostrils. Did I mention you’ll need a magnifying mirror in your bathroom and reading glasses in every room of the house?
Forgetfulness is a form of freedom
Freedom to roam around in circles, parking lots, highways, and room-to-room because you’ve forgotten where you are or what you’re doing. Some call this sightseeing, strolling, being disorganized, missing a turn. I call it, “Where the hell is my car? What did I come into this room for and where am I going?”
You haven’t changed at all
Yes, I have. My face sags, my ass sags, my boobs are hard-wired, I get lost in the driveway, and can’t remember what I did yesterday, much less the last time I had spontaneous sex. My gnarled hands couldn’t open a jar or pick up a penny if you held a gun to my head.
The pain of getting up and down makes me hesitant to sit. I don’t sashay, I waddle on legs stiff as iron pegs with feet, and the popping sound is not my gum, it’s my knees. Sedans (too low) is history. Give me an SUV with GPS; my sense of direction went south with my looks. And, driving at night might as well put Stevie Wonder behind the wheel. I can’t see shit.
My husband in a moment of great wisdom told me, “Honey, God made our eyes so vision would fade as we age.” He removed his glasses. “I can’t see a thing. You’re as beautiful as the first time I saw you.” He’s such a sweet talker; I’m swooning.
Gray hair is beautiful
A few gray hairs, I can abide, but when I wake up and look as if someone dumped fertilizer on my head while I slept, enough is enough. My hairdresser is on retainer, and if my husband has to skip a meal or two for me to afford a cut and color, well all I can say is, “I’m watching his health.”
It’s better than the alternative (my all-time favorite)
Ok, there’s some truth to that statement, but not much. Still, it gives me hope. They say all will be made whole in Heaven and I’m counting on it. Is sex included?
Aging sucks and someone (my mother) should have warned me. So here are a few words of wisdom from my hard-knock school of aging.
- Repeat after me Botox is my friend. Your husband won’t notice, remember he can’t see.
- Put your hairdresser on retainer, Clairol, says, “You’re worth it.”
- Sweating the small stuff will give you wrinkles, so don’t.
- Invest time and money in yourself. Your husband won’t miss the groceries you’re not buying, and besides, you’ve paid your dues.
- Enjoy the moments and laugh a lot. If we gotta go, go out with a smile on your face. How you get that smile is up to you.
To be fair
Aging isn’t all dome and gloom. There are advantages. Life experiences have taught me about people and trust. Trivial things matter less, and I’ve figured out the important things in life. The best thing about growing older, however, is letting go of all the nonsense.
Whiners and stupid people best stay back, I’ve lost my tolerance. Grow up, life isn’t fair, and there are no guarantees. Political correctness, I flushed it down the toilet where it belongs. I feel the freedom to say exactly what’s on my mind and without apology, and if someone doesn’t like this old lady, tough shit.
Your turn is coming.